Jesse Lingard has revealed he used alcohol to “try and take the pain away” as he battled mental demons caused by his stalling Manchester United career and his mother’s bouts of depression.
The forward spent 22 years at United before leaving Old Trafford at the end of last season for newly promoted Nottingham Forest.
The 30-year-old scored United’s winner in the 2016 FA Cup final but often struggled to hold down a regular place in the team.
Lingard starred during a loan spell at West Ham in the second half of the 2020/21 season, only to find himself on the fringes again when he returned to United.
He admitted abuse from United fans and his mother’s struggle with depression made him turn to drinking.
“I was drinking before bed, having a nightcap,” Lingard told The Diary Of A CEO podcast.
“I look back now and think, ‘what was I doing that for?’ But I needed something to try and take the pain away and put me at ease somehow.
“I was trying to forget what was going on. But it makes it 10 times worse.
“You’re getting that much abuse, and I’m already down enough, and I’ve got to perform. I’m already going through things you don’t know about. I felt like the world was on my shoulders.”
Lingard spoke about how his mother Kirsty had battled with depression while he was young, often spending the whole day in bed.
She was admitted to hospital for treatment in 2019, leaving him to care for his younger siblings Jasper and Daisy-Boo.
“The depression was so bad she couldn’t really cope any more and she needed to go away and get help,” Lingard said.
“But leaving me with my little sister, who was 11 at the time, and my little brother, who was 15, I was still going through my own things as well.”
Lingard said he was given “fake promises” over his playing time at United and was furious when the club would not let him join Newcastle on loan in January 2022.
Asked if he had lost respect for United, Lingard said: “Probably, yeah. It was like a free-for-all. They are so behind with everything. You see (Manchester) City’s facilities, Tottenham’s facilities. People are miles ahead.”